Junior Renata Marquez' double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds helped carry the Abilene Christian women's basketball team to its first win over West Texas A&M in two seasons, 81-76, Wednesday night at the First United Bank Center.
The victory was ACU's first in Canyon since Feb. 27, 2010 and lifted its early season record to 3-1 (1-0 LSC), while the Lady Buffs fell to 2-5 (0-1 LSC).
Marquez was one of four Wildcats to score in double figures as the team shot a season-best 52.5 percent from the field (32 of 61). Sophomore Sadie Dickinson finished right behind Marquez with 18 points, senior Kelsey Smith chipped in 16 with three blocks, and junior Mackenzie Lankford hit 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch to finish with 12 points.
Lankford also finished with a game high six assists and was the lone Wildcat to have a good night at the charity stripe as the rest of her teammates went a combined 2 for 11. ACU missed all four its first-half free throws and five of its last eight after WT trimmed the Wildcat lead to nine points with 4:30 remaining.
In the end, however, the missed foul shots didn't matter much as ACU used a 16-1 second-half run to flip a one-point deficit into its largest lead of the night at 12 points with 8:04 remaining. Smith and Lankford each contributed five points during this stretch, Marquez scored four, and freshman Whitney West had the other two.
A layup by Chontiquah White with 3:38 left brought the Lady Buffs to within seven points of ACU, but Marquez responded with a bucket of her own and then Smith blocked White's follow-up shot. On WT's next possession, Lankford was fouled by Oliva Nino after forcing a turnover and subsequently hit both her free throws in pushing the ACU lead back to 11.
Things got a little tense for the Wildcats in the final minute as the Lady Buffs cut their deficit to five after Brittany Williams buried a 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining. But ACU was able to hold onto the ball during its final possession and run out the clock.
The Wildcats took a 41-39 lead into halftime behind 13 points from Dickinson. West Texas never held the lead over ACU in the first half, but did come all the back from an eight-point deficit to tie the score on two occasions, the last with 1:40 remaining after Casey Land nailed a 3-pointer. Marquez and Smith then scored on back-to-back attempts in extending the lead back to four at 41-37, but Nino sank a jumper on WT's final shot of the half.
The Lady Buffs didn't take their first lead until there was 17:50 left in the second half and held onto it for the next five minutes until ACU took off on it's game-changing run ignited by West's layup.
Lacee Logan led WT with 15 points and was one of five Lady Buffs to score in double figures. White had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lady Buffs shot 44.4 percent from the floor, including 47.4 percent from 3-point range.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday for a 2 p.m. home game vs. Eastern New Mexico. The 0-5 Zias lost to Angelo State tonight in Portales, N.M., 72-64.
Information for this story provided by ACU Sports Information.